For a long time, hiring was essentially about filling vacant positions, regardless of the values of the job applicants. This idea that only the qualifications and needs of a company are what count is not where it’s at anymore. Pilar Antón Batiste, Human Capital Director of Prodware Spain, shares her views on the subject.

Hiring is no longer a strictly HR process. Now that companies have made it a priority to align structures, resources and human capital, the HR process has completely changed in nature.

The very meaning of the term « recruitment » has changed: recruiting is no longer about offering jobs, but about deploying an approach based on the employee experience. Whereas we used to hire employees, we now try to attract them.

Attracting Talent

For a few years now, HR managers have been experiencing that it is now up to the company to pitch to this new generation of potential applicants to get them to join. The HR process has been reversed, and it is now up to the HR managers to sell their company to the job applicant. It’s a complete paradigm shift.

Now, the only thing that draws job applicants to an employer is the attractiveness of the company. And so companies that are not attractive have a hard time hiring. Attractiveness is determined by a series of complex factors where CSR policy is no less important than economic considerations and where working conditions outweigh potential career advancement opportunities. Moreover, the entire hiring process of companies has changed: it is no longer a question of posting job offers but it is about improving the appeal of your business to attract the right talent. In other words, the company is no longer the « supply » side but the « demand” side.

Bringing Meaning…

After years of a more or less subdued presence in the hierarchy of corporate values, the idea of an employer brand has resurfaced with greater force. It has now become essential to attract the best employees who, thanks to the employer brand, find a sense of purpose in their work.

Moreover, developing employee engagement comes into play going beyond just providing a decent paycheck but also being fully open when it comes to wage policies, job postings, expectations, and so on…

One of the keys in bringing purpose into the workplace is to turn these needs into actual milestones to achieve and to promote new collaboration modes based on common goals.

Employees are no longer judged on the time they spend in the office or in front of their computers, but on their performance and how they achieve their objectives. That means that managers need to bring meaning to these tasks by clearly putting them in perspective. If these tasks and objectives bear meaning then employees will be much more invested and committed. In these times of pandemic, where there is a strong tendency to adopt hybrid work modes, there is definitely cause for concern in seeing more and more disengaged employees. In order to generate and maintain a positive dynamic, companies and Human Resources need, more than ever, managers with great soft skills such as charisma.

Making sure that all employees understand the Who, What, Where, Why and When of a company is also extremely important. This very strategic aspect is often overlooked. Employees need to know where the company is headed, what the priorities are, the milestones and the whole rollout of that strategy.

Bringing meaning and purpose means empowering each individual with a sense of their clear and valuable contribution to the whole momentum of this strategy.

And so relating to others and being part of a whole have been bumped up to the top of the list. And so, the perception of the relationship with others and the way we connect with others in the company have become very important. Training and that sense of belonging are two building blocks of this feeling of attractiveness.

Training is a way for companies to work on team building activities and workshops that bring together employees from different departments. Everything is thought out to attract and retain talents.

That sense of belonging is also fundamental in driving that corporate identity. For many employees, it is all about joining a company, learning as much as possible and as quickly as possible while getting a decent pay. They want to achieve a good work-life balance, have time for their hobbies, go out and spend time with family and friends. All these things refer back to the famous speech given by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, who underscores how one’s personal life is just as important as his work.

They are also very motivated by the idea of creating a group of friends within the organization. It is the idea of belonging to a community in one same location that shares the same interests including the non-professional ones. Because employee experience implies solid engagement, it is essential for them to feel that they connect with their organization. That is why it makes sense to create a community, because communities drive that sense of corporate belonging.

Retaining talents calls for a definite change in mindset and trying to create an ideal company while opening the door for all employees who wish to join.

However, to develop that sense of belonging there can be no room for disappointment. Whatever was promised to the future employee when in the hiring process has to be delivered once he becomes an employee. The ideal situation would be not to have to retain talents but that they themselves want to stay and grow with the company. It is doing what it takes so that the company becomes “the best place to work.”

And… paying close attention to exit interviews

But when nevertheless a talent does decide to leave the company it is still important to keep an eye out for attractiveness. And that means working on the reputation of the company. As counterintuitive as it may seem, looking after those employees who decide to leave the company is just as important. So now that you have set up many different initiatives to gain visibility, communicated on the values of the company using social media and marketing campaigns to attract new talents, you now need to focus on exit interviews.

Exit interviews help understand why employees have decided to leave the company.  Taking a closer look at what really matters to them and what does not, allows the company to work on those areas and reduce employee turnover. The goal of such exit interviews is to support the employee looking for an opportunity elsewhere and letting him know that if he ever changes his mind along the way and decides to come back, the door is always open. When employees feel supported and understood when they leave, they may have second thoughts and decide to come back. And, instead of criticizing their former employer once they leave the company they will be more inclined to be more of an advocate, which is always a plus for the company’s reputation!

Pushing back the limits

These new hiring processes combined with these new work conditions show that innovation once again consists in pushing back the limits: in this case, that of a company with authoritative leadership where it is all work and no play, failing to take into consideration the personal lives of employees and their desires. When in actual fact, the real innovation is all about factoring in the personal lives of employees into the workplace that in turn generates improved productivity thanks to overall enhanced wellbeing.

So it is up to HR to shape up, be innovative, rethink their approach and push back their limits! That is the price of becoming an attractive employer.

Article initially published in Alliancy.

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